Anthony Firkser

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Anthony Firkser
refer to caption
Firkser in 2021
No. 86 – Atlanta Falcons
Position:Tight end
Personal information
Born: (1995-02-19) February 19, 1995 (age 27)
Manalapan Township, New Jersey, U.S.
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:246 lb (112 kg)
Career information
High school:Manalapan (N.J.) High School
College:Harvard (2013–2016)
Undrafted:2017
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Roster status:Active
Career NFL statistics as of Week 18, 2022
Receptions:115
Receiving yards:1,207
Receiving touchdowns:5
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

Anthony Paul Firkser (born February 19, 1995) is an American football tight end for the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Harvard and signed with the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent in 2017.[1] Firkser also spent time on the Kansas City Chiefs' practice squad.

Early years[edit]

Firkser was born in Englishtown, New Jersey, to Alex and Donna Firkser. He is Jewish, and he and his family, including his brothers Josh and Thomas, belonged to Temple Shaari Emeth in Manalapan, where he celebrated his bar mitzvah.[2][3][4]

High school career[edit]

Firkser was a multi-sport athlete at Manalapan High School.[5] In basketball, Firkser played point guard, scoring 21.3 points with 7.6 assists per game. He finished his career second in school history with 1,362 points. In his senior year, the Shore Basketball Coaches named Firkser the Shore Conference Co-Player of the Year. He was also named the Shore Conference ‘A’ North Division Offensive Player of the Year and made the all-state team.

He competed at the 2013 Maccabiah Games in Israel as a guard for the 18-and-under gold medal-winning Team USA basketball team. On the team, he played alongside Spencer Weisz.[2][4][6]

Firkser did not begin playing football until his sophomore year in high school. During Firkser's three-year high school career, the Manalapan football team went 30–6 and won three consecutive ‘A’ North Division titles. During one stretch, Manalapan had an 18-game winning streak within the division. After a semifinal visit in the state playoffs his sophomore year, Firkser and his teammates played for the NJSIAA Central Jersey title in his junior and senior years. While at Manalapan, Firkser set career school records in receptions (110), receiving yards (2,118) and touchdown receptions (19). After his senior year, he was named All-Shore Offensive Player of the Year as a senior wide receiver. Firkser also was a two-time All-Shore first-team selection.[7]

College career[edit]

Firkser was recruited by Harvard University and four other universities. Citing the university's academic program and the school's willingness to let him play both basketball and football, Firkser committed to play for coach Tim Murphy at Harvard on October 17, 2012.[8]

Firkser saw his first collegiate action in 2014 as a sophomore. He appeared in 10 games for Harvard and made 32 catches for 485 yards. His four touchdown receptions tied for first on the team and he ranked second on the team in both catches and yards. After the season, Firkser was named to the All-Ivy second-team. Firkser started nine games and caught 22 passes for 372 yards and three touchdowns in 2015 as a junior. For the second consecutive season, he was named to the All-Ivy League second-team. As a senior in 2016, Firkser started all 10 games for Harvard and made 45 receptions for 702 yards and seven touchdowns. He was named to the All-Ivy League first-team.

At the end of his collegiate career, Firkser ranked 12th all-time in school history in receptions, ninth all-time in receiving yards, and sixth all-time in touchdown receptions. He graduated from Harvard in 2017 with a degree in applied mathematics. During the 2018 offseason, Firkser participated in actuarial credential exams in hopes of potentially pursuing a post-football career as an actuary.[1]

College statistics[edit]

Season Team GP Receiving
Rec R/G Yds Y/G Avg TD
2014 Harvard 10 32 3.2 485 48.5 15.2 4
2015 Harvard 9 22 2.4 372 41.3 16.9 3
2016 Harvard 10 45 4.5 702 70.2 15.6 7
Career 29 99 3.4 1,559 53.8 15.7 14

Professional career[edit]

Coming into the 2017 NFL Draft, scouting reports projected Firkser to best fit with an NFL team in a role of a fullback/tight end hybrid player. Scouts believed Firkser was tough, intelligent, and relatively athletic. Scouts also praised him for his ability to quickly get into pass routes and adjust to errant throws. However, scouts negatively viewed him as possessing just average size and questioned his strength as a blocker.[9]

On March 19, 2017, Firkser participated in the Harvard Pro Day, an event at which Harvard football players demonstrate their skills to an audience of NFL scouts and coaches. Nearly half of the NFL teams attended this event.[10]

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight 40-yard dash 10-yard split 20-yard split 20-yard shuttle Three-cone drill Vertical jump Broad jump Bench press
6 ft 2 in
(1.88 m)
241 lb
(109 kg)
4.79 s 1.65 s 2.76 s 4.19 s 6.88 s 31.5 in
(0.80 m)
8 ft 11 in
(2.72 m)
21 reps

New York Jets[edit]

Firkser signed with the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent on May 5, 2017.[11] He was waived by the Jets on September 2, 2017.[12]

Kansas City Chiefs[edit]

On November 29, 2017, Firkser was signed to the Kansas City Chiefs' practice squad.[13] He signed a reserve/future contract with the Chiefs on January 8, 2018.[14] He was waived on April 30, 2018.[15]

Tennessee Titans[edit]

On May 14, 2018, Firkser was signed by the Tennessee Titans.[16]

2018 season[edit]

Firkser in 2018

In the preseason, Firkser was second on the team in both receptions (10) and receiving yards (108). On September 1, 2018, he was named to the Titans' initial 53-man roster.[17] He was waived by the Titans on September 17, and was re-signed to the practice squad the next day.[18][19] He was promoted to the active roster on October 8.[20] During Week 6, Firkser caught his first NFL reception in a 21–0 shoutout loss to the Baltimore Ravens.[21] During a Week 13 26–22 victory over the New York Jets, Firkser scored his first NFL career touchdown on a 12-yard reception from Marcus Mariota.[22]

Firkser finished the 2018 season with 19 receptions for 225 yards and a touchdown.[23]

2019 season[edit]

Firkser with the Tennessee Titans in 2019

Firkser began the season as one of four tight ends on the Titans' opening day roster along with veterans Delanie Walker, Jonnu Smith, and MyCole Pruitt. For the first six weeks of the regular season, Firkser played sparingly and was even a healthy inactive in Week 4. During that six-week span, he caught just one pass for 25 yards. After Walker was later placed on injured reserve,[24] Firkser played a larger role in the Titans offense. During Week 10 against the Kansas City Chiefs, he caught three receptions for 36 yards and his only touchdown of the regular season as the Titans won by a score of 35–32.[25]

Firkser finished the 2019 season with 14 receptions for 204 yards and a touchdown.[26] Ironically, Firkser's first two career touchdowns were against the Jets and Chiefs – the two teams that had previously waived him.

The Titans finished the regular season with a 9–7 record and were the sixth seed in the AFC playoffs. Firkser played his first postseason game on January 4, 2020, against the defending Super Bowl champions, the New England Patriots. In that game, he caught two passes for 23 yards and a touchdown in the Titans' 20–13 upset road victory. With the touchdown, Firkser became the first player from Harvard to score a touchdown in an NFL postseason game.[27] Firkser's final reception of the season was also the final touchdown of the Titans' 2019 season. He caught a 22-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter of the AFC Championship Game in a 35–24 road loss to the Chiefs.[28]

2020 season[edit]

On February 13, 2020, Firkser signed a one-year extension with the Titans.[29][30]

During Week 6, Firkser recorded his first career 100-yard receiving game in a 42–36 overtime victory against the Houston Texans. Firkser finished the game catching eight of nine targets from Ryan Tannehill for 113 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter.[31]

Firkser finished the 2020 season with 39 receptions for 387 yards and a touchdown.[32] In the Wildcard round of the playoffs, he caught two passes for 44 yards in a 20-13 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

2021 season[edit]

On March 17, 2021, Firkser re-signed with the Titans on a one-year deal.[33]

During Week 11 against the Houston Texans, Firkser scored his first touchdown of the season when he recovered a fumble in the end zone. He finished the 22–13 loss with five receptions for 26 yards and the aforementioned touchdown.[34] During a Week 17 34–3 victory over the Miami Dolphins, Firkser caught three passes for 24 yards and his first receiving touchdown of the season.[35] In the regular-season finale against the Texans, Firkser had four receptions for 56 yards and a touchdown in the 28–25 road victory.[36]

Firkser finished the 2021 season with 34 receptions for 291 yards and two touchdowns.[37]

Atlanta Falcons[edit]

On April 12, 2022, Firkser signed a one-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons.[38] He was released on August 30.[39] He was signed to the practice squad the next day.[40] He was promoted to the active roster on September 13.[41]

NFL career statistics[edit]

Regular season[edit]

Year Team Games Receiving Fumbles
GP GS Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Fum Lost
2018 TEN 12 0 19 225 11.8 28 1 0 0
2019 TEN 15 1 14 204 14.6 39 1 0 0
2020 TEN 16 1 39 387 9.9 45 1 0 0
2021 TEN 15 1 34 291 8.6 24 2 2 1
2022 ATL 11 1 9 100 11.1 22 0 0 0
Career 69 4 115 1,207 10.5 45 5 2 1

Postseason[edit]

Year Team Games Receiving Fumbles
GP GS Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Fum Lost
2019 TEN 3 0 3 45 15.0 22T 2 0 0
2020 TEN 1 0 2 44 22.0 35 0 0 0
2021 TEN 1 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Career 5 0 5 89 17.8 35 2 0 0

Personal life[edit]

Firkser volunteers with his former high school football coach to help train and give advice to aspiring young football players in his hometown community of Manalapan. He enjoys pencil drawings, jigsaw puzzles and playing online collectible card games. His older brother, Josh, played football at Wagner.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Anthony Firkser, Biography". Tennessee Titans. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Silow, Andrew (May 9, 2013). "Local athletes to compete in Israel Games | New Jersey Jewish News". New Jersey Jewish News. Retrieved January 20, 2020.
  3. ^ Fine, Jeremy (August 23, 2017). "7 Jewish NFL Stories to Watch in 2017". Oy!Chicago. Retrieved January 20, 2020.
  4. ^ a b Bloom, Nate (October 3, 2019). "Jewz in the Newz". American Israelite. Retrieved January 20, 2020.
  5. ^ "Anthony Firkser fields offers from academic elite, leads Manalapan". USA TODAY High School Sports. September 6, 2012. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  6. ^ Amir Shoam (August 7, 2013). "Maccabiah: U.S. Wins Five Basketball Medals". The Philadelphia Jewish Voice. Retrieved January 20, 2020.
  7. ^ Morris, Tim (August 14, 2013). "Firkser excelled in both football and basketball". GMNews Archive. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
  8. ^ "Anthony Firkser, Recruiting Activity". ESPN.com. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
  9. ^ "Draft Analyst: Anthony Firkser". draftanalyst.com. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
  10. ^ "Harvard Football Hosts 2017 Pro Day". gocrimson.com. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
  11. ^ Allen, Eric (May 5, 2017). "Jets Sign Eight Undrafted Free Agents". NewYorkJets.com. Archived from the original on October 12, 2017. Retrieved September 15, 2018.
  12. ^ Lange, Randy (September 2, 2017). "Jets Reduce to 53 with 23 Player Moves". NewYorkJets.com. Archived from the original on December 7, 2017. Retrieved September 15, 2018.
  13. ^ Bouda, Nate (November 29, 2017). "Chiefs Release WR Devin Lucien from PS, Sign TE Anthony Firkser". NFL Trade Rumors. Retrieved September 15, 2018.
  14. ^ Paylor, Terez A. (January 9, 2018). "Chiefs sign 10 to reserve-futures deals". KansasCity.com. Retrieved September 15, 2018.
  15. ^ Sweeney, Pete (May 1, 2018). "Chiefs make three cuts Monday". ArrowheadPride.com. Retrieved September 15, 2018.
  16. ^ Morris, Jimmy (May 14, 2018). "Titans add 5 players to the roster after rookie mini-camp". MusicCityMiracles.com. Retrieved September 15, 2018.
  17. ^ Morris, Jimmy (September 1, 2018). "Titans initial 53 man roster". MusicCityMiracles.com. Retrieved September 15, 2018.
  18. ^ Wyatt, Jim (September 17, 2018). "Titans Add WR Nick Williams, Waive TE Anthony Firkser, WR Cameron Batson". Tennessee Titans. Retrieved January 31, 2022.
  19. ^ Wyatt, Jim (September 18, 2018). "Titans Add RB Dalyn Dawkins, CB Kenneth Durden While Waiving LB Aaron Wallace". Tennessee Titans. Retrieved January 31, 2022.
  20. ^ Wyatt, Jim (October 8, 2018). "Titans Promote TE Anthony Firkser to 53-Man Roster". Tennessee Titans. Retrieved January 31, 2022.
  21. ^ "Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans – October 14th, 2018". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  22. ^ "Titans' Anthony Firkser: Logs first career touchdown". CBSSports.com. December 2, 2018. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  23. ^ "Anthony Firkser 2018 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved October 22, 2020.
  24. ^ Moraitis, Michael (October 23, 2019). "Delanie Walker injury updates: The latest on Titans TE's status for Week 8". titansized.com. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
  25. ^ "Kansas City Chiefs at Tennessee Titans – November 10th, 2019". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved October 22, 2020.
  26. ^ "Anthony Firkser 2019 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved January 29, 2022.
  27. ^ Chung, Joshua (January 6, 2020). "From Manalapan High to the NFL: Hometown fans cheer on Titans' playoff hero Anthony Firkser". Asbury Park Press. Retrieved January 7, 2020.
  28. ^ "Mahomes' feet, arms, lift Chiefs to Super Bowl over Titans". www.espn.com. Associated Press. January 19, 2020. Retrieved January 19, 2020.
  29. ^ Nick Shook (February 13, 2020). "Roundup: Titans sign TE Anthony Firkser to extension". nfl.com. Retrieved January 31, 2022.
  30. ^ Jim Wyatt (February 13, 2020). "Roundup: Titans Agree to One-Year Contract Extension with TE Anthony Firkser". Tennessee Titans. Retrieved February 13, 2020.
  31. ^ "Titans' Anthony Firkser: Finds end zone while Smith exits". CBS Sports. October 18, 2020. Retrieved October 18, 2020.
  32. ^ "Anthony Firkser 2020 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved January 29, 2022.
  33. ^ Wyatt, Jim (March 17, 2021). "Titans Agree to Terms With TEs Anthony Firkser, Geoff Swaim on a Pair of One-Year Deals". TennesseeTitans.com. Retrieved January 28, 2022.
  34. ^ "Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans – November 21st, 2021". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved November 22, 2021.
  35. ^ "Miami Dolphins at Tennessee Titans – January 2nd, 2022". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved January 3, 2022.
  36. ^ "Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans – January 9th, 2022". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved January 10, 2022.
  37. ^ "Anthony Firkser 2021 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved January 29, 2022.
  38. ^ Alper, Josh (April 12, 2022). "Falcons sign Anthony Firkser". ProFootballTalk. Retrieved April 12, 2022.
  39. ^ Bair, Scott (August 30, 2022). "Falcons announce initial 53-man roster heading into 2022 regular season". AtlantaFalcons.com.
  40. ^ "Atlanta Falcons: 2022 practice squad tracker". USAToday.com. August 31, 2022.
  41. ^ Bair, Scott (September 13, 2022). "Falcons add veteran tight end to active roster". AtlantaFalcons.com.

External links[edit]